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Pine Hall Cemetery Service Memorializes Departed Servicemen

by on May 25, 2015 8:30 AM

Kathy Brown may have been born and raised in China, but she sounded like a true American at Pine Hall Cemetery service on Sunday, and that's because she is.

The China native married Chris Brown, and with that marriage came her connection to a family with three generations of military service. 

She faced a crowd of about 50 people on Sunday, telling the story of her late husband's family at the American Legion Post 245 Memorial Day service. Brown's father-in-law, Bob Brown, served in the Air Force.

"He was a man devoted to God, his country, community, and family," she says. "He was a loving husband to his dear wife of 55 years. In 1953, he had to come home to get married, so he swapped his duty with another airman. Unfortunately, this airman was killed in an airplane accident. That tragedy affected Bob profoundly."

He dedicated the rest of his life to public service, most notably serving as Watsontown, Pa.'s mayor for 24 years. Brown was so loved by the town that it named a park after him.

Kathy Brown then jumped two generations into the future, speaking about her step-son, Scott Snyder. He, like his father and grandfather before him, served in the Air Force. 

"He lived through many courageous missions operated in foreign countries," Brown says, rattling off a laundry list of overseas nations.

When Snyder retired from the Air Force after two decades of service, he handed his retirement flag to Brown to honor his father.

"His act of kindness to me was one of the powerful moments that shows love indeed transcends race, culture, family, life, and even death," she says.

Mary Werdal, commander of American Legion Post 245, spoke briefly at the service. She provided some strong words and stressed the importance of this holiday.

"We set aside Memorial Day each and every year to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country, defending and protecting our freedom," she says. "May the ceremonies of today deepen our reverence for our departed friends and comrades."

"Let us renew our pledge of loyalty to our country, its flag, and those currently serving here at home and abroad," Werdal adds. "Let us resolve by word and deed to emphasize the privilege and duty of patriotism."

The crowd was filled with veterans who came to the cemetery to honor their fallen comrades. Among them was Lloyd Spearly, an 85-year-old Navy veteran.

"War cost a lot of people a lot of lives," Spearly says. "It’s definitely important to honor them. It’s good to honor the people who have died for us to make this country what it is."

The poignant yet touching service concluded with a rifle company salute to the dead, followed by the traditional and familiar sound of a bugler playing Taps.

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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May 25, 2015 8:20 AM
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